The Benefits Of Spending Time With Grandparents

the benefits of spending time with grandparents

One of the reasons we initially started a senior home care agency in the Bay Area was because we love seniors, and we know how important human engagement is for their health and wellbeing. Not surprisingly, it turns out that spending time with grandparents is just as beneficial for the third- and fourth generations. 

Until relatively recently in western culture, spending time with grandparents was a given because families either lived in multigenerational households or grandparents lived close by. Now, in a time when grandparents may live on another coast – or another country – our children miss out on crucial opportunities to develop their intelligence in all capacities and to build essential bonds with their elders. 

Spending Time With Grandparents

Here are nine sweet reasons why your children benefit from spending quality time with their grandparents. 

It builds more emotional intelligence  

Single-working parent households were largely the norm, or one parent was able to bring work into the house, keeping children with them outside of school schedules. Today, increasing numbers of children spend their first several years in daycare facilities. Regardless of how wonderful they are, a daycare provider can never fill the space that a parent or grandparent occupies in a child’s life. 

So, it makes sense that studies show children who spend more time with their grandparents have fewer emotional/behavioral problems and score higher on emotional intelligence assessments. 

They smile and laugh more often 

It’s a given that the grandparent role is a special one. In the best-case scenarios, grandparents get to serve as an unconditionally loving family member who has just slightly looser ties on the child than his/her parents. Grandparents are often retired or only work full time, have more time on their hands and are eager to share focused time and energy with their grandchildren. 

As a result, grandparents have that magical ability to make children laugh, smile, and be more silly – more often. That leads to a happier and more joy-filled child. That same interaction also makes for happier, healthier seniors. 

Encourages more positive social behavior 

A recent study evaluated 10 – to 14-year-olds from both single- and two-parent households. The number of parents didn’t seem to affect social and academic performance as much as the researchers expected it to. However, children who had more regular interactions with their grandparents were more empathetic and compassionate in social settings, and they were generally more engaged in school.  

They are less likely to become depressed 

Worried your child, tween, or teen is having a hard time socially or could be battling depression? It might be time to schedule an evening, weekend, or holiday visit with grandma and/or grandpa. Children who report having a close relationship with their grandparents are less likely to experience symptoms of depression.  

Among other things, children may feel more comfortable sharing their feelings, or being comforted by their grandparents. And, because seniors are prone to loneliness and depression, they are able to sympathize and express their understanding of where the children are coming from, which helps children feel more seen and heard. 

Children forge a deeper connection with their family history and culture 

Grandparents have long been considered the story keepers in any family line. The more time a child spends with his/her grandparents or great grandparents, the more likely s/he is to see photos and albums, watch old family movies, and to hear stories that connect them to their lineage. This is particularly important for second- and third-generation immigrants who may have a less direct connection to their cultural ties. 

It can help children have a stronger bond with their parents 

Having a hard time with your adolescent? A visit with the grandparents is a great idea. In addition to giving you and your child a break, odds are s/he’ll hear lots of stories about how you were growing up – many of which you may not remember or don’t have the “parent’s perspective” about.  

Hearing about your funny, silly, surprising, or similar escapades may benefit you, too, because your child will return with a greater understanding (and bond) with your past. 

Spending time with grandparents boosts oxytocin levels (the love hormone) with cuddles 

Oxytocin is one of the “love hormones,” facilitating feelings of emotional warmth, comfort, relaxation, and connectedness. Known as a bonding hormone, oxytocin is released when we hug, cuddle, and share affectionate touch. Since grandparents are likely to have more time to snuggle on the couch, read a book, or reach out and give a gentle, long hug, your child will experience boosts in oxytocin – and all of its physical and emotional benefits. 

They can grow their skill sets 

Feel like your kids are spending way too much time on their phones, gadgets, or in front of screens – and not enough time developing their skills? Odds are one or more of your parents, step-parents or in-laws have skills they are eager to pass down. And, your child is more likely to say yes to learning woodworking, handwork, yard work, and gardening, etc., when it’s offered up by Nana or gramps. 

Ample, unconditional love 

Everyone benefits from unconditional love, and the more of it, the better. While parents are typically the go-to providers of unconditional love, experiencing it from grandparents and extended senior family members give children the opportunity to learn multidimensional examples of what unconditional love really is.  

These are just some of the many benefits of spending time with grandparents. If possible, try to find a way to connect your children with their grandparent(s), and vice versa. It’s a win-win in every way. 

We’re Here To Help

Have a parent with mobility issues or a diagnosis that makes it harder for them to spend time with their grandchildren without help? Contact us here at HomeAide Home Care and we can connect you with just the right companion, driver, or helper to facilitate their precious bonding time.

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